'Vile' threats made against hospital staff after Savita died in care
'VILE' threats made against staff at Galway University Hospital following the death of Savita Halappanavar were handed over to gardai because of fears they could be targeted.
The revelation came as the board of the Galway and Roscommon University Hospital Group held its first public meeting as part of the process of amalgamating hospital services.
The board passed a motion of condolence to Praveen Halappanavar and his family as the meeting heard that the case had taken its toll on staff.
Speaking afterwards, hospital CEO Bill Maher revealed a number of staff had been on stress-related leave as a result of the death of Ms Halappanavar, and were due to return to work shortly. "Some of the correspondence we received from all over the world was pretty vile.
"Some of it we put in the hands of the gardai – people (were) accusing us of murder."
Mr Maher added: "There were a number of threats to some people – some of it insinuated, some of it very direct."
However, Mr Maher stressed that staff had also received support from around the world.
"Whilst there was threats and some of them pretty vile still our staff got up the next day to deliver services and that needs to be acknowledged," he said.
"We also have to look at it in perspective. We have also had a lot of support and a lot of letters of support. We have to remember we have been subject to three reviews. Whilst those reviews have been under way we have continued to deliver the service here," he said.
The public meeting also heard from group clinical director Dr Pat Nash, who gave an outline of the HSE Clinical Review report. He stated: "It was clear from the report there were failures in the standard of care provided at University Hospital Galway."
But Dr Nash said the hospital had already undertaken significant improvements as a result of the interim recommendations made to the hospital.
He added that the HIQA investigation into Ms Halappanavar's death was due by late summer or early autumn.
The annual report for the hospital group for 2012 was also launched during the meeting.
It revealed that Galway University Hospital treated 37,825 inpatients in 2012, had 87,189 day cases, 22,7371 outpatient appointments and 64,919 emergency department presentations.
A total of 3,377 babies were delivered at the hospital last year.
The report found 2012 was a challenging year financially for the group which incorporates Galway and Roscommon hospitals, with the year-end position showing a budget deficit of €37.4m.